4. Famous Pen-Wranglers
For what was effectively a kids' show, Land managed to score some hefty talent to write episodes.
Literary SF heavyweights Larry Niven, Theodore Sturgeon and Ben Bova all contributed episodes, while a number of people who had been involved with Star Trek, including Dorothy "D.C." Fontana, actor-turned writer Walter Koenig and David Gerrold also bashed out scripts.
This might be attributed to the fact that the show was markedly different from the garish colours and weird puppet creatures of other efforts.
It was the Kroffts attempt to break into newer, more epic, and – for them – more reserved territory while still keeping the kiddie appeal.
The three main characters faced danger from the dinosaurs and also from slow-moving, hissing lizard-men creatures known as Sleestaks, who nevertheless lived up to typical bad-guy behaviour by never quite defeating our heroes (or being able to shoot straight with crossbows).
The Marshalls also encountered the Pakuni, a race of ape-like humans, and made friends with Cha-Ka, one of the creatures.
One element that marked the series out was commissioning linguist Victoria Fromkin to create a language for the Pakuni, which she based on the sounds of West African speech and attempted to build into the show in a gradual way that would allow viewers to learn the language over the course of many episodes. Talk about details…
The show went off the air after three seasons in 1976, and lay dormant for a while…
Next: Journey To The '90s